Austin is the capital of Texas. I didn’t realize this when we went there, probably because the only state capital I know is New York (NYC, duh) and also because I don’t know where any states are (although I’m begrudgingly learning since I’ve been looking at an atlas for 17 days. I still don’t know where Oklahoma is.).
The capitol building in Austin is the biggest in the country – bigger than the U.S. capitol building in DC! That’s because everything is bigger in Texas. It’s true! And it’s fun.
Nothing really funny or crazy happened while we were here, but we had a really good, chill time just exploring the city, eating some really fantastic food and buying some fun souvenirs. Here’s some pictures of where we went and what we ate!
Above: Bangers. This great spot on Rainey street was our first stop in Austin and it was ideal. Inside was a long bar with tons of different local beers on tap. Outside were picnic tables lining a huge backyard. It was a Monday night, but it felt like Friday there. People were milling around, chatting, having their beers and intermittently ordering food. A few kids jumped around on the benches and the weather was a perfect 65 degrees. We ate a bison sausage with spicy mustard and jalapeno mac ‘n cheese. Maybe we should move here?
Above: East Side King. Paul Qui’s food truck replaced my restaurant reservation at Qui on this visit. Austin just seemed like a place to eat and snack around, not sit through a 7-course tasting menu. You can see why this guy is doing so – well the food is perfectly snacky, the exact mish mosh of Asian fusion that you want when you just want to grub out. We had the fried chicken thighs with mint and lemongrass, the fried kimchee, and the pork buns. Fatty!
Above: Mickelwaiths Barbecue. Best barbecued brisket either of us has ever eaten. Barbecue really is better in the south, it must be the air and the woodchips, I don’t know, but it’s just better. The crust of this brisket was insanely crunchy, seasoned and delicious. The meat had a perfect pink smoke ring and the fat slowly dissolved in your mouth like the a smoky lardo. The meat was tender and buttery…I gotta stop talking about it, it was so rich and good it makes me both hungry and nauseous at the same time. I loved the ribs also, and how they served everything with bread and butter pickles and raw red onions. Delightful!
Above: Veracruz All Natural Tacos. These al pastor tacos were incredible. I bet all tacos in Austin are pretty great. Another food item that I believe just doesn’t compare in NYC – Mexican. Literally no taco I’ve had in New York even approaches this taco truck. The actual tacos were soft and a little thicker than usual which appeals to my carbo bread addiction. I also am big on all the sauces (authentic, unauthentic, don’t care, I want a variety of spicy and creamy sauces to adorn my tacos) and they had them.
Above: Mckinney Falls State Park. We stayed in a great campground about 15 minutes from downtown Austin, in McKinney Falls State Park. They had great campsites and nice, easy hiking trails that circled the whole park. There were also an upper and lower waterfalls there, where we spent some early morning and twilight hours putting our feet in the water and taking pictures.